At Judy’s Jewelry Antique and Estate Jewelry, we love antiques. Owner, Sal Lanzieri, has more than 30 years of buying, selling and evaluating antiques. His love of antiques comes from his love of history, which includes his own family’s military history; making World War II a favorite topic and a favorite antiquing focus as well.
We were talking about antiquing the other day and ruminating on why certain people love antiques so much. What is it that drives people to go “picking” through garage sales, antique shops and other people’s “garbage” looking for that “find” they’ve been searching for? After all, aren’t antiques just other people’s old junk?
If you are big into antiquing. . . that last line may have made you cringe. But as lovers of antiques ourselves, we understand the mystique of finding that wonderful unique old item that connects you to a bygone era, or brings back fond childhood memories. So let’s take a look at some of the reasons people collect antiques, and see if you find yourself in one of these examples.
What is an antique?
First, let’s define what we mean when we say antique. The dictionary defines it as “a collectible object such as a piece of furniture or a work of art that has high value because of its considerable age.” That’s pretty broad, but certainly covers the fact that an antique is a valuable old object with cultural or historical significance. Many people feel that technically an antique should be at least 100-years-old, but there are many collectors of antiques from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and even 80’s. Certainly the art deco furniture and art pieces from the roaring twenties fit that description as well. So let’s just say that the classification of an antique is ever changing.
An Appreciation of History
Whether it’s personal history or national history or global history, most of us have an interest in learning about the past. Perhaps that old tablecloth reminds you of Sunday dinner at Nonna’s house. Maybe that wooden toy racecar reminds you of the time your dad helped you build your little wooden boxcar to race in Boy Scouts. It could be that the World War II military medal interests you because Grandpa told you stories of fighting in Europe during that era. When we go antiquing, we get to rediscover parts of our past while learning about history in ways that can be quite surprising. No matter what year you were born, antiques and collectibles connect you to every bygone era, and every part of the world. Antiques create a sense of nostalgia, bring us closer to the past, and can shed light on the social norms of a particular period. For example, at Judy’s we have a Victorian-era golden toothpick. Most people see it in the display case and have no idea what it is. But if you ask Sal to tell you about it, you’ll learn about a very interesting social more of that time period. Namely, men who had money and influence, showed it off by pulling out that golden toothpick at the end of the meal. Those who love antiques typically treasure the historical aspect of their collection. The ability of antiques to educate and tell a story about the past is a powerful attraction.
You don’t have to be a serious collector (or have a serious amount of cash) to enjoy antiques. Often you can include a single historical piece to your home’s décor to add character or a personal stamp on your interior decorating. An appreciation of the artistic look of vintage items is one of the many reasons people collect antiques. Whether it’s a painting, a piece of old handmade furniture, or a lovely old vase, antiques often catch the eye of those people who love culture and art. It may be that you are simply drawn to décor from another era, whether it is the graceful lines of Victorian Era art or the boldness of post World War II furniture. You may love not just another time period, but antiques from another part of the world. Perhaps the Chinoiserie people bought in the 1950s or the turn of the century posters advertising liquor from France.
They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To
Many antiques are elaborately crafted, and it’s this fading dedication to craftsmanship that drives people to seek out antiques. People cherish items that were hand-made or made in small batches in an artisan workshop. Antiques are seen to be better constructed than those assembled now in our “disposable era.” They were not mass-produced. There was a pride in workmanship, and an attention to detail, as well as the context of creating something to last a lifetime, or many lifetimes. It’s a huge draw for those people who appreciate the artisanship of master craftsman who took the time to create something of value.
The Final Word
As you can see, there are many reasons for people to collect antiques or to become a collector (collectors are a whole other topic, which we will look to cover in the future). At Judy’s Jewelry Antique and Estate Jewelry, we are the biggest buyers of antique, vintage and costume jewelry, gold, silver, diamonds, coins and other precious metals in SWFL. We buy military and historical artifacts, oil paintings, marble statues, vintage and antique toys, select antique furniture, jade, porcelain, unique collectibles and more. We look forward to you coming in to visit the shop, or if you have a vast collection of antiques you are looking to sell, we will come to you to help you evaluate its value and perhaps even buy some of it ourselves. Remember, before you throw cash in the trash, let us evaluate its value.